The Disappearance of the Book of Mormon’s Sealed Portion
|For six weeks in the summer of 2011, researchers convened at the Maxwell Institute to discuss the topic “The Cultural History of the Gold Plates.” The seminar was sponsored by the Mormon Scholars Foundation, hosted by the Maxwell Institute, and directed by Richard Bushman.The Summer Seminar Working Papers 2011 were presented at a BYU symposium on August 18, 2011. Working papers are unpublished, unedited, unpolished drafts. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Maxwell Institute or BYU.|
In the early nineteenth century, a woman named Ann Essam left a large sum of money to be used for the publication of the sealed prophecies of the English visionary Joanna Southcott. Essam’s orthodox niece was horrified, and attempted to dispute the will, protesting that the writings were blasphemous; nonetheless, the court upheld the will.1
The writings had indeed created quite a stir when the plebian woman claimed that she was receiving revelations and prophecies from God; the intrigue heightened when an inner voice told her to keep some of her writings secret, only to be revealed at a time of great danger and global distress.2 Decades later, one Russell Huntley made a contribution similar to Essam’s, to the Reorganization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1876, Huntley offered a sizeable loan, subsequently accepted, to Joseph Smith III for the purpose of funding the publication of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, for when it came forth.3
These accounts reflect the appeal that esoteric sacred texts have held for believers (and nonbelievers, as can be attested by the array of responses to these claims)4. But more particularly, sealed scriptures in Mormonism have held the promise of hidden knowledge, represented prophetic authority, signaled divine revelation, and had a variety of other functions. When Joseph Smith came into possession of ancient metal records, one striking feature present in almost all the descriptions by witnesses was the mention of a “part…which was sealed,5 reportedly ranging from 1/3 to 2/3 of the entire plates.6
Ironically, this element didn’t seem to particularly catch Smith’s attention, other than being “very impressively” prohibited by Moroni from tampering.7 However, the sealed portion generated speculation as to what might be contained therein, when it would be revealed, and under what conditions. A rich commentary on the significance of the sealed portion developed and continues to the present day. Charting this tradition reveals much about the human yearning for revelation, expectations of millennial developments, definitions of restorationism, the meaning of prophethood, and other key ideas.
The first part of this paper will discuss how Mormons understood these more technical aspects of the sealed portion (the what, when, and where) Then I will explore several functions that the sealed portion has served over the past two centuries. Though the Book of Mormon text itself thematizes the idea of sealed records, I will primarily be treating the historical repercussions of this motif—not the internal ones. I will close with some questions as to what this might mean for Mormonism’s doctrinal and cultural history.
Book of Mormon makes several references to sealed portions of records, and it is not always clear what those “sealed portions” refer to. In some passages they are identified with the revelations given to the Apostle John, while in others passages, “sealed” records seem to refer to the gold plates as a whole, or to other sacred histories and teachings not revealed. The Book of Ether contains the most explicit discussion of a specific sealed portion, in which the vision given to the Brother of Jared is sealed and hidden up multiple times, in different generations. In the nineteenth century, Mormon thinkers sometimes speculated regarding the particular content of the sealed portion. Though Oliver Cowdery8 claimed that the sealed portion referred to the vision given to John on Patmos, others such as Orson Pratt and Charles Penrose (and many throughout the beginning of the twentieth century) understood the sealed portion to be the 24 plates of gold, the book of Enoch or the lost ten tribes, a revelation of the world’s history.9 These conjectures continued throughout the twentieth century10, until the mid 1980s when Bruce R. McConkie definitively identified the sealed portion as the vision of the brother of Jared; his identification seemed to become more or less officially accepted.11
The opinions over where the plates with the sealed portion were located and when they would be delivered varied considerably. 19th century Mormons believed the sealed records were hid up in the Hill Cumorah12, or the “cave of treasures13 that contained “wagonloads of plates” and other ancient relics, as reported by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Some thought that they were “no doubt kept in charge of the heavenly messenger.14 In the twentieth century, the whereabouts of the plates are less literally asserted; they are usually consigned to vague divine guardianship, if addressed at all.*
Similarly, nineteenth century Mormons viewed the advent of the sealed records much more literally and proximately. For example, W.W. Phelps confidently stated in 1832 in the Evening and Morning Star that one might“ expect… as soon as wisdom directs, many sacred records, which have slept for ages” to come from its pages.15
Orson Pratt animatedly awaited the passing of the 1829 generation for the records to be given,16 and even a critical newspaper, upon catching wind of the forthcoming17 delivery of more records, sardonically responded: “Remembering the amazing and interminable mischief already wrought … we all cry with one accord. From all further calamities of that sort, good Lord deliver us…18 This air of expectancy began to fade as the years passed and no records emerged, and the emphasis shifted from enthusiastic anticipation, to vague provisional promises, to reproving admonishment. While Anthony Ivins could assure his congregation in 1928 that the records would be revealed “without doubt…in the not-distant future”, and his contemporaries confirmed more cautiously that such would happen “when the people of the Lord are prepared and found worthy,19 or when “the world was ready,20 Joseph Fielding Smith began to articulate more stringent requirements. When people accepted “all the words of the Lord without doubts and mental reservations,” God would keep his promise to restore the sealed records to his people..21 Though McConkie voiced a similar view several years later in 1966, he seemed to have grown skeptical that this condition could be met and avowed in later discourses that the revelations would not be had again “until the millennial reign of Christ.” Apparently, this new timetable stuck, and by 1988, Rodney Turner surmised that “most commentators believe that these revelations will not be had again until the millennial reign of Christ,” (though he himself disagreed with this idea).22
So much for the more technical questions of the sealed portion. I will now focus on the more subtle functions that the notion of the “sealed portion” has played throughout Mormon history. According to the Book of Mormon, sealed portions of sacred scripture served primarily to preserve revelations and histories until the proper audience or transcriber was available to receive them. At times, the text indicates that revelations are withheld in order for God’s people to “exercise faith” in Christ and his extant words so that such spiritual exercise can prepare his people receive the “greater part” or sealed revelations; and at others, the revelations must simply wait for the necessary faith to be present in order to be able to be revealed. The sealed portions also apparently served as critical pieces to the restoration of knowledge of other nations and the uniting of God’s disparate peoples, which in turn could serve as a vehicle of conversion and spiritual experiences. Furthermore, receiving the sealed portions appears to be the sign that “the great and marvelous things which have been hid up” are to be fulfilled, and the “work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the earth.23 This “work” may be indicative of or synonymous with the continuation of divine revelation among God’s people, for the continual reception of new records will prove that God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that [He] speak[s] forth [His] words according to [His] own pleasure.”
Though many of these functions described in the Book of Mormon carried over into the nineteenth century, new ones also emerged. Because the early Saints understood the scriptural conditions for receiving sealed records and revelations from God, these portions acted as an incentive for and prize for worthiness and righteousness. As Orson Pratt enthusiastically urged, “Latter-day Saints, are not these things [promise of records] worthy of living for? …I verily believe that …[the] Latter-day Saints…if they knew that they could enjoy all the blessings of the ancients and have the visions of the heavens laid open to their minds…would live very faithful…24
Decades later, prominent LDS feminist Elizabeth McCune urged the young women, “Seek for light, daughters of Zion, in the study of the Book of Mormon; understand the spirit of it, and incorporate its truths into your lives, so that when the sealed portion of this sacred record comes forth, you will be prepared for it.25
Many other leaders echoed the call for obedience and worthiness in order to ensure the speedy arrival of the sealed portion; one critical newspaper article satirized the idea that God was testing the “Gentiles” with the first installment, and given the absence of the sealed portion, it was proof that God “was not pleased with the result” that the first portion had produced.26
Not only did the promise of sealed portions incentivize obedience and worthiness as a sort of positive temptation, but the promise served to draw people unto God through communication and inquiry. Based on the divine promise stated in 2 Nephi, Orson Pratt explained in 1877:
“[The Lord says] I will give them line upon line…and if my people shall inquire of me, in relation to these things, then I will teach them still more, giving them another line and another precept… but if they do not inquire of me…then I will withhold the greater information; I will not let them know the law which I gave to the ancient Nephites; I will withhold many things calculated to benefit them, until they learn the things that they are already taught.27
By actively seeking records and revelations, the Saints would be blessed with the greater things that had been withheld.
Such seeking was enhanced when the Saints understood how vast the repository of hidden records was. In 1856 Heber C. Kimball related a vision of Joseph and Oliver Cowdery’s in the Hill Cumorah, where “there were books piled up on tables, book upon book…[which] this people will yet have, if they accept of the Book of Mormon and observe its precepts, and keep the commandments.28 Charles Penrose concurred, reminding the Saints a year later in 1879 that they must show they “are ready at any time, if the Lord has a word of revelation to communicate to us, to receive it… until God brings forth …the things kept hidden from the foundation of the world … and all the ancient records that have been lost will be brought to light.29 Revelation and restoration were inextricably linked, as they saw God’s process of unfolding the knowledge of the world as a fundamental part of the Restoration. Even critics picked up on the connection the Saints made between the sealed portion and an open canon: an 1851 New York newspaper article reported the following:
“The disciples of Joe Smith enjoy a remarkable advantage in the constant accessions to the spirit oftheir faith, through renewed celestial communications ; two new revelations having occurred within the past month. On Friday night, May 30, it appears that the chamber of Orson Hyde…received a sudden illumination, and a manuscript book was presented to him, which proved to be a translation from that portion of the golden plates which Joe Smith was forbidden to disturb…30
Apparently the revelations dealt with false prophets and were linked to the Bishop Gladden affair (which may connect to the 1835 charge against Gladden for teaching false doctrine and heresy)31 though no evidence from Hyde’s own account is found to corroborate the story. Regardless, the report revealed that even the critics recognized the importance of the sealed portion to Mormon notions of continuing revelation and an open canon.
However, the encouragement towards inquiry and the quest for revelations, in combination with the call for increased worthiness, were all seen as critical preparation for the impending millennial era. The prolific Pratt declared that “…the Lord intends, in this dispensation … to overwhelm the whole earth with a flood of knowledge in regard to himself…[and] in regard to the preparation of the earth for the thousand years of righteousness to come. Hence…these great numbers of plates…as well as those sealed records of which I have been speaking, will all come to light….32 Such revelation was essential to ready the Saints for the millennium, and Pratt reasoned that “if it were important for [the brother of Jared], in the early ages, to understand the great things of the latter days, how much more important it is for us who are living, as it were, just preceding the coming of the Son of Man…33
The sealed portion also functioned as a defining element of prophethood. As David Whitmer related in an interview in 1878, the plates were residing in a cave awaiting the moment that God would “raise up a mighty one,, who shall do his work [in translating the sealed portion]till it is finished and Jesus comes again.34 Orson Pratt wondered who this mighty one might be: “the favored Seer and Revelator that will be raised up among this people to bring this revelation to light,” he admitted, “is not revealed to me.35 The fact that Joseph Smith had fulfilled the Isaiah prophecy of translating sealed books in the Anthon incident was often touted as confirmation that he was a prophet of God, and his role as Seer, Revelator, and Translator was all part of the same prophetic package. However, the sealed records were not only a symbol of prophetic power, but a purifying test for the prophet. Oliver Cowdery wrote to W.W. Phelps in 1835, “On the subject of bringing to light the unsealed part of this record, it may be proper to say, that our brother [Joseph] was expressly informed, that it must be done with an eye single to the glory of God; if this consideration did not wholly characterize all his proceedings in relation to it, the adversary of truth would overcome him…36 According to Catherine’s recollection (the sister of Joseph), it appears the test could apply to the saints as well as the prophet—as she recalled the angel’s explanation to Joseph that “when the church became pure, the rest of the record would be translated and brought to the church.37
Many of these functions spilled over into the twentieth century—but I want to emphasize a few interesting changes. One of these changes relates to the millennial timescale and fading sense of literality regarding the sealed portion. Because many nineteenth century groups including Mormons believed the millennium to be at the very door, the linkage of the sealed records to millennial preparation was seen as not only a logical precondition, but also gave a much more proximate, literal tone to the discussion of the sealed portion’s advent. This resounded in all of Orson Pratt’s writings, and even as late as Anthony Ivins’ 1928 conference address, where he assured the Saints that God’s promise to restore them would be fulfilled, and their publication would enable more “children of our Father [to] be converted to faith in Christ.38 Yet by the 1970s, Bruce R. McConkie was stating confidently that the sealed portion would be part of a millennial project, only to be commenced by Christ.39 Instead of Orson Pratt’s pre-Millennial utopia, where the whole earth will be flooded with the knowledge of God in preparation for his coming,40 McConkie asserted that “There is going to be another…great period of enlightenment, when [Christ] comes; and at that time he will reveal all things, such as the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon.” “But,” he continued emphatically, “he will not reveal the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon now, and let us publish it to the world41
Why this turn from millennial expectation to finalistic disavowal? Though there are many plausible theories42 , one possible answer may lie in the exploration of another shift that emerges in the twentieth century. In the Book of Mormon text, and in the decades of the early church, there is an emphasis on faithfulness and obedience in order to receive the sealed records. But a subtle displacement occurs, particularly in Joseph Fielding Smith and McConkie’s writings: the plates become primarily a thermometer of faithfulness and obedience. In other words, the records become a probationary instrument instead of an end to be achieved; the knowledge and light enthusiastically sought by Pratt and others is eclipsed by a focus on what had been before primarily prerequisites. In 1949, Joseph Fielding Smith stated that the LDS Church was placed “on probation” by the Lord—but for failing to “live up to the requirements in this probationary state” God would “hold from [them] those other things which one time will be revealed.43 A layman’s autobiography revealed that this message had sunk in: Robert English wrote, “God promised us that he would deliver to us the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon just as soon as his people have accepted the portion already given. But we have not received it, so it is obvious that we are not prepared for it.44 In McConkie’s view, at least, the Saints had indeed failed that probationary test, as did president Bensons when he deemed the Church to be under condemnation for not studying the Book of Mormon. As McConkie summarized in a 1985 address: “I am clear in my mind that the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon will not come forth until the Millennium… Would God that the work might commence at least in our day, though in fact we have no such hope. Why should the Lord give us what is on the brass plates or in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon when we do not even treasure up and live by what he has already given us?45 Neal A. Maxwell took a softer (if often vaguer) approach, advocating the Saints to look forward to that future return of the sealed portion with “anxious expectation.46 The contrast o both statements with this comment by Orson Pratt may illustrate better the shift I mean: In 1856, he warned the Saints that if they desired the sealed portion, they must “esteem the Book of Mormon” and not become “careless concerning the dealings of the Lord”—and why? He answers quite pragmatically, “You are not to suppose that you are going to be jumped into the midst of revelations, and by one great and grand step are to burst the veil, and to rend it from your eyes…47 The preparation, not the “worthiness,” was the point.
This standard of obedience and faithfulness emphasized in the latter half of the twentieth century went hand in hand with a marked interpretation of the sealed portion as the “higher law.” Based on a passage in 3 Nephi where Moroni is commanded to write only the “lesser portion” of Christ’s teachings, several Mormon leaders and even fundamentalists began to equate the Book of Mormon with the lesser part, and the sealed portion with the “greater things,” or “higher law.” For example, in 1949, Joseph Fielding Smith clarified that “the canon scripture is not only not complete, but …we have [only] the book containing the lesser things which the Lord was willing to reveal.48 ; William Critchlow echoed this idea a decade later in the closing remarks of his conference address: “Sometime,” he said, “I hope to read the ‘greater’ things’ sealed therein.49 Another decade later, President Kimball admonished members who sought the sealed portion without reading the Book of Mormon: “many people,” he chastised, “want to live the higher laws when they do not live the lower laws,”l and McConkie affirmed that “the milk,” or the translated portion of the Book of Mormon must precede the “meat” found in the sealed portion.50
The fundamentalist Rulon C Allred claimed that what lay within the sealed portion justified the practice of what he deemed the higher principles (i.e. consecration and polygamy).51 At times, the sealed portion provided for fundamentalists not only justification for practicing the higher law, but served as a “spiritual blank check,” as Steve Taysom named it. In this ecclesiastically approved blank space, dissenting or fundamentalist Mormons from 1945 to as recently as 2008 have used the purported content of the sealed portion (or in some cases, translations thereof) to expound unorthodox doctrines and practices. Perhaps such heterodoxy proved worrisome to Church leadership and contributed to the growing distance that cropped up in the formerly linked concepts of prophethood, revelation, and sacred records.
Another noteworthy shift is the paradoxical notion of “restoration” that emerges in these later writings, particularly in the writings of Bruce R. McConkie. While in 1966, he claimed that “this is the great era of restoration…[where] all the truths had in ages past shall be restored..and lost scriptures…[are] yet to come,” he rebukingly wrote in 1989 that it is our habit in the Church—a habit born of slovenly study and a limited perspective—to think of the restoration of the gospel as a past event ….303But the restoration of the wondrous truths known to Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham has scarcely commenced. The sealed portion of the Book of Mormon is yet to be translated….52
While this may seem reminiscent of Pratt’s enthusiastic calls to prepare for the cascade of records that would pour forth throughout God’s restoration, McConkie takes it a different direction: “All things are not to be revealed anew until the Lord comes. The greatness of the era of restoration is yet ahead.” Instead of keeping the canon open through this prolonged restoration process, he functionally closes it. Rather than a restoration process as a Millennial preparation, McConkie describes it as a millennial culmination. By emphatically declaring the records to be unavailable until Christ comes again, any genuine preparation on the part of the members to ask or prepare for such knowledge is futile. Less prominent figures such as Rodney Turner and Avraham Gileadi differed, arguing that the restoration of the records would be a significantly preparatory pre-millennial event, as part of what Gileadi identified as God’s “great and marvelous work.54 Yet more and more, the restoration came to be seen as a past event.55 The overwhelming rhetoric of the latter twentieth century echoes this sense of satiety or sufficiency, as leaders reminded the members that in spite of the lack of promised records, they had “enough to save and exalt [them] now.56 Such is a far cry from Orson Pratt’s confident exclamation that “there is nothing too great to be withheld from the Saints of God in the last dispensation of the fullness of times57
While Pratt, McConkie, and Fielding Smith were the most vocal concerning the sealed portion, a conspicuous silence has marked the recent history of these records. With the exception of the Maxwell Institute, little mention of or reflection on the sealed records has occurred in the past decade. Why has this once-vibrant element of Mormon faith been circumscribed largely to the academic arm of the Church?
Other questions arise as well. With the shifting functions of the “sealed portion” of the Book of Mormon, some of Mormonism’s key tenets have been affected in interesting ways. For example, while translation and the reception of sacred records were inextricably linked to the role of prophethood and revelation in the early church, and certainly in the Book of Mormon text, current LDS manuals make no mention of records or the sealed portion in their discussions of prophets, revelation, or scripture. The idea of an open canon, so vividly described in 2 Nephi 29 and celebrated by Orson Pratt and other early Saints in terms of the restoration of sacred records, has been narrowed to non-canonized verbal declarations of living prophets and leaders.
The understanding of restoration and revelation as an ongoing process, perpetuated by the Saints’ questions as much as God’s answers, has been largely replaced by a thin conception of fullness and plenitude. Eagerness and anticipation for further light and knowledge is less common than admonishments to be content with what is already given—despite the divine question posed in 2 Nephi 29: “Why murmur ye because that ye shall receive more of my word?” And yet, there echoes in the background, the divine rebuke: “And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished..”
1. “Southcott, Joanna.” Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Litearturei>. Vol. 22. Edited by Thomas Spencer Baynes. H.G. Allen, 1888. p. 289.
2. Frances Brown. Joanna Southcott: The Woman Clothed with the Sun. Leicestershire, England: Lutterworth, 2002. 64.
3. Roger D. Launius. “An Ambivalent Rejection: Baptism for the Dead and the Reorganized Church Experience.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. Volume 23, no. 2. June 1, 1990.69.
4. “David’s Reflections: The Very Latest from the Newest Heavenly Kolob.” : A NEW DANIEL COME TO JUDGMENT. : ________ Which it is David Whitmer’s Book, Showing the True forwardness of the Latter-day Diabolism — Murder Will Out — Tell the Truth and Blame the Devil… The Salt Lake Daily Tribune. Vol. XXXIIII. Salt Lake City, Utah: Sunday, December 11, 1887. No. 42.
5. Dan Vogel’s Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1996): Orson Pratt’s 1839 and 40 account, Orson Hyde’s 1842 account, Joseph Smith’s description to Daniel Rupp (1843), Lucy Smith’s interview in 1842 with Henry Caswall, and William Smith’s interview with James Murdock (1841) all describe the plates with just about the same wording, including the mention that “a part of which was sealed” or “some of them are sealed together and are not to be opened, and some of them are loose.” William Smith’s account also says “The pages which he was not to translate were found to be sealed together, so that he did not even read them and learn their contents.” (479) David Whitmer’s later interviews also report that “The plates, as I saw them, were fastened with three rings. About half of them were loose and movable, but the others were solid, as if sealed.” (133, 85, of volume 5; interview with Chicago Times)
6. David Whitmer said “a large portion” and “about half.” (As cited in “How Witnesses Described the “Gold Plates” by Kirk B. Henrichsen, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume – 10, Issue – 1, Pages: 16-21. Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2001. Orson Pratt (not a direct witness) says two-thirds in “The Faith and Visions of the Ancient Saints,” Journal of Discourses, vol. 3. April 13, 1856. 347b. An article in the 1907 Liahona, the Elders’ Journal, says one-third. (Liahona, the Elders’ journal. “Ancient American Prophets.” No. 23. November 23, 1907. 630-632. George Q. Cannon says that only one-third was sealed. (George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith, new ed., p. 45.) [as cited by Bruce R. McConkie in Mormon Doctrine under “Gold Plates.”) Bruce R. McConkie (“The Bible—A Sealed Book,” Church Education Symposium, BYU, 17 August 1984)and Pres. Hinckley (Truth Restored, pp. 14-15.) cite the two-thirds portion described by Orson Pratt.
7. Dan Vogel’s Early Mormon Documents, vol. 5 . Smith gave in an interview with Chicago Times the explanation of this that the angel had told him very impressively that the loose plates alone were to be used, and that the sealed portion was not to be tampered with.” (133, 85,)
8. “Letter IV.” Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps. Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate (Kirtland, Ohio) 1, no. 5 (February 1835): 77–80
9. Journal of Discourses Volume 19 Orson Pratt 12/9/1877 King Limhi’s Enquiry, Etc. 218 a., or Charles Penrose “The Word of the Lord,” Journal of Discourses, vol. 21. November 29, 1879, 47b., and W.M. Egan, Our Deseret Home, Vol. 1, 1882. P. 236. And Utah genealogical and historical magazine V. 23;, Issue 3, chapter 47: “Records Yet to be Revealed.” (July 1932); In 1927, an article in the Improvement Era identifies the sealed portion as containing both the revelation to the brother of Jared as well as to John the Beloved, but in 1930 an article in the Liahona identifies only the brother of Jared’s vision; Joseph Fielding Smith refers to records of the ten tribes, the brother of Jared, and the visions to Nephi (2 Ne 27) as inclusions in the sealed part of the record.
10. J. Sjodahl. “Notes on the Book of Mormon.” Improvement Era. 1927, Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection 1949, Deseret Book. 339
11. According to Rodney Turner’s statement in “The Three Nephite Churches of Christ,” in Paul R. Cheesman, ed. The Book of Mormon: The Keystone Scripture: Paper from the First Annual Book of Mormon Symposium. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988.
12. May 1873, Orson Pratt said: “Will these things be brought to light? Yes. The records, now slumbering in the hill Cumorah (see Cameron Packer’s article, “Cumorah’s Cave,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, : Volume – 13, Issue – 1, Pages: 50-57. Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2004)
13. P.W. Poulson to editors of the Deseret News, 13 Aug. 1878, cited from Deseret News, 16 Aug. 1878, p.2—interview between Edward Stevenson and David Whitmer- Where are the plates now? [Whitmer]: In a cave, where the angel has hidden them up till the time arrives when the plates, which are sealed, shall be translated. God will yet raise up a mighty one, who shall do his work tillit is finished and Jesus comes again.
[Poulson]: Where is that cave?
[Whitmer]: In the State of New York.
[Poulson]: In the Hill of Comorah?
[Whitmer]: No, but not far away from that place);
Also, see Oliver Cowdery’s account of he and Joseph seeing the “wagonloads” of plates in the cave –see Monte Nyman’s “Other Ancient American Records Yet to Come Forth”, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume – 10, Issue – 1, Pages: 52-61, Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2001)
14. Orson Pratt. Orson Pratt’s Works. Deseret Book: 1851, Ch 8, “Evidences of the Book of Mormon and Bible compared”
15. The Evening and the Morning Star—Vol. 1, No. 1, June 1832. P. 1 column 2. first edition, first page!
16. Orson Pratt. “Revelation Gradual, Etc.” Journal of Discourses Volume 19. 5/20/1877
17. Orson Pratt, “King Limhi’s Enquiry,” 1877: “But we have every reason to believe that the time is not far distant, and that there are some living among the young now upon the earth, that willlive to behold great numbers of revelations given, and will behold other books come forth and other records translated by the Urim and Thummim.”
18. David’s Reflections: The Very Latest from the Newest Heavenly Kolob.” : A NEW DANIEL COME TO JUDGMENT. : ________ Which it is David Whitmer’s Book, Showing the True forwardness of the Latter-day Diabolism — Murder Will Out — Tell the Truth and Blame the Devil… The Salt Lake Daily Tribune. Vol. XXXIIII. Salt Lake City, Utah: Sunday, December 11, 1887. No. 42
19. Sjohdal 1927
20. Critchlow 1960
21 Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection. Deseret Book, 1949. 339
22. Rodney Turner, “The Three Nephite Churches of Christ,” in Paul R. Cheesman, ed. The Book of Mormon: The Keystone Scripture: Paper from the First Annual Book of Mormon Symposium. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988.
23. Ether 4:15-17.
24. Orson Pratt. “The Faith and Visions of the Ancient Saints.” Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3. April 13, 1856. pg. 349 A
25. “New Year’s Greetings”, The Young Woman’s Journal Vol. 12 No. 01 January, 1901. 40
26. David Whitmer on his Death Bed.” The Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. December 17, 1885.http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/IL/mischig.htm
27. Orson Pratt, “Revelation Gradual.” Journal of Discourses, vol. 19. May 20, 1877. 14b.
28. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 28 September 1856, quoted in Andrew W. Skinner, “The FoundationalDoctrines of 1 Nephi 11-14]*” Vol. 02 No. 2 Religious Educator. 2001 QUOTING 1. Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854– 86), 19:36–39. 2. Ibid., 4:105; emphasis added
29. Charles Penrose, “The Word of the Lord.” Journal of Discourses, vol. 21, November 29, 1879. 47b.
30. “New Revelations among the Mormons.” New York daily tribune no. 3187, New York, New York : s.n. 5 Jul 1851, p. 4, column 6.
31. Kirtland Council Minute Book By Fred Collier, William S. Harwell, 141
32. Orson Pratt, “King Limhi’s Enquiry.” 217b
33. Orson Pratt, “King Limhi’s Enquiry.” 216a
34. David Whitmer, Deseret Evening News, 16 August 1878, as related in “Cumorah’s Cave” by Cameron J. PackerJournal of Book of Mormon Studies: Volume – 13, Issue – 1, Pages: 50-57 Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2004 emphasis added
35. Orson Pratt, “King Limhi’s Enquiry.” 217b.
36. “Letter VIII.” Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps. Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate (Kirtland, Ohio) 2, no. 1 (October 1835): 195–202.
37. “An Angel Told Him: Joseph Smith’s Aged Sister Tells about Moroni’s Talk.” The Kansas City Times. Kansas, MO., April 11, 1895. http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/MO/Miss1881.htm,
38. “Conference Address of President Anthony Ivins: The Purchase of the Hill Cumorah,” by Anthony Ivins. Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, Vol. 25, No. 24-847. Independence, MO. May 15, 1928.
39. Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, Deseret News 1989 “Searching the Scriptures” (but possibly written in 1974)
40. Orson Pratt, “King Limhi’s Enquiry.” 217b.
41. Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. compiled by Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 3. Bookcraft, 1956. 201-202.
42. institutionalization of charisma, Protestants discouraged from seeking spiritual gifts, etc.
43. Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. compiled by Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 3. Bookcraft: 1956
44. born 1916. See http://www.worldcat.org/title/autobiography/oclc/253596418&referer=brief_results
45. The Joseph Smith Translation: The Restoration of Plain and Precious Things, ed. by Monte S. Nyman and Robert L. Millet. 1985 . Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, BYU. ” Bruce R. McConkie in “The Doctrinal Restoration”
46. Neal A. Maxwell, But For a Small Moment, 1986 Deseret News. Chapter 2 “A Choice Seer”. See also Ch 15 “The Restoration of All Things: What the Doctrine & Covenants Says” by Robert J. Matthews in Heavens Are Open: The 1992 Sperry Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History, ed. By Byron R. Merrill © 1993 Deseret Book Company for a similar light-hearted approach
47. Orson Pratt. “The Faith and Visions of the Ancient Saints ”Journal of Discourses. Volume 3 . 4/13/1856
48. Joseph Fielding Smith. The Way to Perfection. Deseret Book: 1949. p. 334, 339. Also “The Book of Mormon, a Divine Record,” Conference Report October 1961, 18-20.
49. William J. Critchlow, Jr. “A Divine Key To Knowledge.” Conference Report, April 1960. 34-36.
50. Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball1982 Deseret Book. 532.
51. Bruce R. McConkie. Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Deseret Book: 1981. See ch. 117, “Expounding the Scripture”
52. Quoted in Origins and Development of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times, A Master’s Thesis for BYU College of Religious Instruction, by Lyle O. Wright, 1963: Appendix D.Rulon C Allred, Polygamist [1950s]: “The Book of Mormon is full of the revelations and the commandments of God. There is even a greater portion of that record which is sealed. When we live by the principles already given to us, and God can see that we will obey His laws, then He will open the sealed portion for us. So it is with the Church today. When they strive to live all that they have, the higher principles will again be given to them.” (216)
53. Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie. Deseret Book: 1989 “Searching the Scriptures” (but possibly written in 1974). 303.
54. From Avraham Gileadi, “The Great and Marvelous Work Yet to Come Forth,” no date; most likely 1970s-80s. In Cheesman Papers, Box 24 Folder 2, BYU Special Collections.
55. How Firm Our Foundation, Russell M. Nelson, “How Firm Our Foundation,” Ensign, May 2002, 75
56. Spencer W. Kimball. Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball. Deseret Book Company,1982. See chapter 19.
57. Orson Pratt. “The Book of Mormon.” Journal of Discourses vol. 20. August 25, 1878. 76b.